Young people in the Middle East and North Africa are being given the chance to showcase their technical and entrepreneurship skills through the Arab Mobile App Challenge, part of the world’s largest competition for mobile app design and development.
The Arab Mobile App Challenge is part of the annual, global Mobile App Challenge run by the United States’ Applied Innovation Institute. The competition is being brought to the region for the first time by Silatech, a not-for-profit initiative that works to create jobs and expand opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, is a major sponsor of the competition in the Middle East and North Africa.
Competition participants will work in teams to design a mobile app that can be used by the entertainment, health, education or employability industries. Entrants will be judged on the design of their business model, as well as the presentation and the innovative utility of the app itself. Teams making it through the first round of the competition will be given substantial support from technical and business experts from leading local and international companies, helping them create dynamic and innovative apps. Mentors from across relevant industries will work closely with the teams to develop app ideas into viable business start-ups.
Competition finalists from across the Arab world will be selected to compete in the regional final, which will be held in Qatar in February 2014. Prizes include US$50,000 for first prize, US$30,000 for second prize and US$20,000 for third prize. Winners from the MENA region will also have their costs paid to attend the international finals of the competition to be held at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.
Silatech and Pearson are calling on tech-savvy, potential entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to find out more about the Challenge by attending the Qatar information session on 20 October at Carnegie Mellon University in Doha, and the UAE session on 21 October at Dubai Knowledge Village. To register or for further information about the Challenge, visit www.arabmobilechallenge.com.
Dana Shaddad, Senior Project Manager, Silatech, says the challenge will play an important role in nurturing young entrepreneurs in the Arab world:
“There is a strong need throughout MENA to promote innovation and entrepreneurship amongst young people to support future economic growth and social stability. The percentage of the population under the age of 30 in MENA countries is growing at a rapid rate – but so are youth unemployment figures. We need to channel the potential of this large number of young people in the region into positive, income-generating activities. Fostering technological talent through competitions such as the Arab Mobile App Challenge is an excellent way to do this. Encouraging successful new start-up businesses will have the dual effect of fuelling the private sector and generating new jobs – outcomes welcomed by governments and individuals across the Arab world.”
Pearson’s Haseeb Khan, a competition mentor, says Pearson chose to support the challenge because developing educational and employability opportunities by harnessing technology is an issue Pearson has been closely involved with:
“Pearson has been working with educators, employers and young people in the Middle East and North Africa to create educational solutions that make real changes to individuals and their communities. Our work has shown us that there is a need for technology-driven solutions that give learners more than just knowledge, but skills that make learners ready to perform in the workplace. By supporting the challenge, we hope that we can help develop young peoples’ technological and entrepreneurial capacities, and make them well prepared for their future careers – in either the public or private sectors.”
The Arab Mobile App Challenge will be officially announced during the Mobile 360 series held in Dubai on 21-22 October 2013.